Page:Patriotismchrist00tols.djvu/20

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14
PATRIOTISM AND CHRISTIANITY.

case millions of people have lost their reason who possess immense sums of money and means of violence—rifles, canon, fortresses, ironclads, mélinite, dynamite—and with, moreover, at their disposal, the most effective means for communicating their insanity: the post, telegraph, telephone, the entire Press, and every class of magazine, which prints the infection with the utmost haste, and distributes it throughout the world.

Another difference is that the former not only remain sober, but abstain from all intoxicating drinks, while the latter are in a constant state of semi-drunkenness which they do their best to foster.

Hence for the society in which such epidemics take place, the difference between that at Kief, when according to M. Sikorsky, no violence nor manslaughter was recorded, and that of Paris, where in one procession more than twenty women were crushed to death, is equivalent to that between the falling of a small piece of smouldering coal from the fireplace upon the floor and a fire which has already obtained possession of the floors and walls of the house.

At its worst the result of the outbreak at Kief will be that the peasants of a millionth part of Russia may spend the earnings of their own labour, and be unable to meet the Government taxes; but the outbreak at Paris and Toulon, which has affected people who have great power, immense sums of money, weapons of violence and means for the propagation of their insanity, may and must have a terrible conclusion.

IV.

One may listen with compassion to the mouthings of a feeble old and unarmed idiot in his cap and nightshirt, not contradicting and even humourously acquiescing with him; but when a crowd of able bodied mad-men escape from confinement, armed to the teeth with knives, swords and revolvers, wild with excitement, waving their murderous weapons, one not only ceases to acquiesce, but one is unable to feel secure for an instant.

This case is very like that which has been evoked by the excitement of the Franco-Russian receptions which has taken possession of Russian and French society. Those who have succumbed to this psychical epidemic are the masters of the most terrible weapons of slaughter and destruction.

It is true that it was constantly proclaimed in every speech made